Many would set a goal and wonder, “Hey! I’ve been setting this goal, and still, why couldn’t I make it?” In this episode, Becky Nova, the Founder of Lady Landlords, talks about how she’s helping women reach their financial freedom. She shares the strategies she used to optimize her time and explains how Lady Landlords provide help to other women. Tune in to this inspiring episode and discover how a tale of woes turned into a fantastic opportunity!
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The Top 3 Strategies To Optimize Your Time With Becky Nova
We’re going to do a deep dive into Becky Nova and her Lady Landlords. It’s an awesome story about stumbling into real estate investing and turning it into a massive win through trial, tribulation, failing and making it happen. We’ll meet Becky Nova.
We have Becky Nova with us with Lady Landlords. I’m excited about this because, in our pre-game conversation with Becky, many of you are already landlords and women. There’s big synchronicity between her success and what she’s come to as a result. I’m going to give her a chance to introduce herself but you know it’s coming up, Becky doesn’t. We want to find out how she got here. Becky, welcome to the show.
Thank you. I appreciate you having me on.
Give us that Reader’s Digest condensed version of where you’ve ended up and why my team fell in love with you when they were looking for great guests to be here? Why you? What makes you special? Everybody should stop on the treadmill and be like, “What? Becky Nova? I can’t be distracted by running.”
One of the reasons that people are attracted to what I’ve been able to build over the past couple of years is because I am not special or different from anybody else out there. I had my 9:00 to 5:00 job. I fell in love with real estate. I went for it. I started buying properties and then a couple of years later here, I am helping other women on their journey to financial freedom through real estate as well.
This isn’t a reporting of how you got here. You are a cancer researcher by day and a real estate investor by night. What was it that all of a sudden wealth strategies popped up? Did you consider other wealth strategies or were you always in love with real estate?
No. I fell into real estate. I had no intention of ever getting involved in this. To me, cancer research was a way for me to be able to pay to travel. I have lived in multiple countries. I used to live in Europe for a long time where I used to run a business there. I ended up being a total disaster. I moved back to the States and did cancer research. I planned to come back, make more money and then figure out how to move next. I had to fight horrible financial literacy. I was in debt when I decided to start buying real estate. I had horrible credit. I hate telling people about my success in real estate because I always have to admit that my husband was right.
What was he right about? What a-ha did you end up having through this process?
Back in 2017 or 2018, my husband came to me. My husband is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, who moved to the States years ago very much of the American Dream white picket fence. That’s what he wanted. In 2017, I moved back from Europe. I was running my business. When you run your business, you’re putting every single penny back into that business. I was broke and in horrible debt because I was trying to get this off the ground. As we do in relationships, we have to compromise and figure out how to sometimes make the other person happy.
This was the life goal that was important to him. I said, “Fine. Let’s see what we can do.” I then said, “Let’s figure out how to get myself out of debt, improve my credit and buy this house.” The more I learned, the more I realized I still did not want to buy a house. The reason was that I didn’t want to be living mortgage payment to mortgage payment. That sounded horrible to me. After I went through all this work to improve my finances, I didn’t want to be broke and be house poor.
You’ve already been traveling by this point. You know what a sense of freedom feels like. You know the root word for mortgages, “Engaged until death.” “I don’t want to be engaged until death.” It sounds like where you’re coming from.
I was talking to my other friends that were already married and bought their forever homes. I’m like, “You are 30 and bought the house you plan on dying. It’s not going to work for me. I did not enjoy that idea.” All they would do is tell me about all they did was go to Home Depot on the weekends or they were saving their money to fix their grass. I was like, “This does not sound appealing or fun at all.”
I went to my husband and we went back to that compromise. I said, “I hear what you want. I know that we want to get you a house but we got to do it a little bit differently. We can’t just buy a single-family home, live in it and pay mortgage to mortgage.” I tell everybody I came up with this fantastic idea, “We buy multifamily. You live on one side and rent out the other.” I had no idea that anybody else was doing this.
I thought I was smarter than everybody else because I still was not even learning or educating myself about real estate investing at that time. I was just breaking the barrier into financial literacy. Real estate investment was so not even on that scope but I got him on board with buying multifamily. That all of a sudden was what opened my eyes to the possibility of what real estate investing can do for someone.
This is where your and my path is diverse because as my family and my tribe know that my first foray into real estate investing was a duet. It was a townhome. I lived on one side, rehab the other side and rented it out. I discovered that one day at 8:30 at night, I had to go to the store to get a light for the oven. I’m like, “What am I doing with my life? I hate my life. Why am I changing out light bulbs?” People say, “Property manager,” but I’m living next door. I never went back. You went all in. This opened the door but what was on the other side of the door?
At first, I had no idea. It was at the closing for that first property. That first closing was an absolute disaster. When I tell people the story of what happened at our closing, they’re like, “Why would you ever do this again?” Normally, in closing, you schedule 1 or 2 hours to be able to go in. You sign a whole bunch of documents that nobody ever reads and walk out with a bunch of keys. We were there for about four and a half hours and I can guarantee you, there was probably no other closing that has had that much cursing and infighting take place.We are not meant to live on islands by ourselves. We are people that like to be in communities. Click To Tweet
There were so many different things that have been missed, on the paperwork that was incorrect and numbers and names that were wrong. The fact that we closed that same day, I’m shocked. We then get out of there. The problems from the closing continue. It was a month of leaks in properties. The seller, not following through with what they were supposed to do and has problems with their attorney. We ended up suing our attorney from that closing. Regardless of how horrible that was, it was at that closing that I had said, “I want to do this again.”
My mortgage broker and realtor were like, “You’re nuts. You can’t do that. This is horrible as it is. Why are we doing this again? You already have your hands felt?” I was like, “No. I’m going to get through these problems. We’re going to figure that out and then I’m buying more property.” They were like, “It’s going to take you forever. You got to figure out how to save. You bought this house. It’s hard, especially in New York.” I was like, “No. I’m going to solve this and figure it out.” It was after that, that I went to this educational place of learning about real estate investing. It was not until after that first property. I’m listening to a podcast and they’re like, “This great strategy of house hacking.” I’m like, “I guess I was not as original as I thought.”
Your realtor and mortgage brokers were like, “Drop the knife and back away or you’re going to hurt yourself.” What happened after that?
I called them about every week being like, “Can I buy another house now?” It worked out well because they became two people. They always talk about building a team when you invest in real estate and having trust with people you can call. They were mine. Even though for the first 40 weeks, the answer was, “No, you can’t,” every week I got to learn something different and ask them questions about things.
As I started to either read books, go to networking events or listen to podcasts about real estate investing, I wasn’t able to talk to them and ask questions about, “Is this how it works? Is this something that can be done? Can I make this work?” It was a great way to take a lot of that education and see if I can put that into practice. We closed on that first property on May 22, 2018. That entire summer was me calling the two of them every single week, listening to podcasts and learning all of these different strategies.
It’s while you’re receiving rent checks from your multi-units that are uncovering some majority of your mortgage.
Also, living for free in New York.
What would you say is 1 or 2 of the most influential experts or people that you have, the books you read or podcasts? What was it that infused you with the knowledge or at least knowing how to ask your team the right questions?
My favorite book, which is not even real estate investing related is Start With Why by Simon Sinek because I feel like it’s so applicable to everything you do in life. I’ve owned businesses before that have made great money and also where I’ve lost a ton of money. When you go through these ups and downs and if no one cares about the great days, you don’t think about anything else. It’s like, “This is fantastic, fun and cool that I get to run my business.”
On those days that things suck, nothing goes your way and you lose money or whatever happens, which honestly is pretty much every day for an entrepreneur, at some point in your day, it does come back to that Start With Why concept of saying, “Why is this important? What got me here?” It helps you get through those downtimes.
I’m a fan of it. Thank you for bringing that up because even in our master course in the bootcamp series that we have, we talk about your why being your motivation, purpose and what’s driving you? We have a section that we call Your Wow Is After Your Why. What’s on the other side of your why? What are you driving toward? In that, what was your chief motivation? Is it better and faster? What was your why?
For me, it’s time freedom. That is the most important thing. Honestly, it’s not necessarily the number in a bank account. We have a limited amount of time on this earth. I want to make sure that I am not wasting any minute or second of that time doing something that I don’t want to do. It was important for me to be able to say, “What is it that I want to do with my day today,” and focus on saying yes to those things and no to the things that I don’t.
At least some version of European freedom, other than the Eastern Asia freedom and South Pacific freedom. Time is the great delimiter. If you’re in front of my group teaching them, what would you say are the top three ways that you have learned, implemented, been successful and I believe in failing forward so those are included? What would you say are the top three strategies, ideas, thoughts and procedures that you do in your personal professional life that keep you on point so that you can continue to take advantage of your time?
“No” Is A Full Sentence
Probably the hardest one for me and something I still struggle with so we’re going to call it still practice is remembering that no is a full sentence. We get asked all the time to do things that we don’t want to do. There’s a Jerry Seinfeld skit about that back in the ‘90s. We end up being asked to do things, then we get upset that we agreed to it. They were like, “Why did we do that?” Being able to say no to things that don’t light you up is important. That’s something that I still practice. You need to keep whatever that goal is or the thing that is your why in front of you. You can see what’s behind me but when you can’t see is what’s in front of me. That is a ton of sticky notes, vision board, all of that types of things are in front of me that I can focus on to remember and remind me why I am doing these things.
Do you have a spiritual practice, a morning practice or rituals that you abide by to remind you and anchor in these ideas? We’ll get to three in a moment but you’re already here. How do you anchor these in your daily practice or daily life?
I’m a very big believer in time-blocking where I have certain times and that is exactly what I focus on. I used to be very much that multitasker, the person that thought they can conquer everything at the same time. I realized I wasn’t getting as much as I thought. Also, there were not as many things that I needed to accomplish, as I thought I did.Make the decision and take action. That is what separates those who will be able to get to that financial freedom. Click To Tweet
A funny place where I got that from was somebody that suggested that I read the book The 4-Hour Workweek. I did not because that book is so long. Can’t you give me the abridged version about how I can save all that time? I’m sorry but I was not a fan. The one thing that I got from that was to prioritize with not the things that we necessarily would like to get done or could get done but what has to happen now? Do those. That’s what goes on my time block.
Anything else? Great. I have that three-page to-do list too but the focus on where I’m putting my time and feel that sense of accomplishment is going to be much shorter. Something I remember learning when I was younger was that if you end up setting a goal and you keep not meeting it, it’s not a good goal. It makes you feel crappy. You get upset that you didn’t make it. All you’re doing is pouting around that you didn’t meet your goal. The idea of goals is to set something that’s attainable, something that one can get to. Why is that is because it gives you that sense of accomplishment. You’re like, “I can keep going.”
It’s to avoid pain and seek pleasure. If I’m not getting the endorphins, I’m only sitting here in pain. It’s very wise.
Most of us are our own worst enemies.
What’s number three? You have your first two.
Staying connected. It’s important to network with other people that have similar goals, working on similar projects and will keep me in the loop of what I’m trying to work on. We are human. We like to be with other people and have those connections. As I want to go live on my island, we are not meant to live on islands by ourselves. We are people that like to be in communities. It is important to find your group and people that are also working on similar things. You can continue to inspire and motivate each other.
Do you have a tribe? Given that you are the headmistress of the lady landlords, how do you inspire your crew? I will get to how my crew can get to know you better or how you are doing it and how you can assist them and hit their goals. What are the main principles of your organization or tribe? What is the SOP, Standard Operating Procedure for being a lady landlord?
Something that I felt was lacking when I started to properties was that there were all these questions and decisions you have to make as a landlord that nobody tells you about when you buy property. It seems easy. You buy your property. You give them a lease. They pay you money on the first. Light bulbs are out. Who’s supposed to be fixing that? Who’s responsibility? I’ve got into this debate before with other people, especially people that are not in New York and they’ll say, “Why do you have to change light bulbs that are in their house?”
I’m like, “I rent apartments. People that live in 700-square-foot boxes don’t carry around ladders. How are they going to change the light bulb? That’s not a normal thing that you would have.” It’s incredibly typical in New York that a landlord would be the person that’s responsible for that. There are all those little uncomfortable, awkward decisions that we have to make as business owners within landlording. I realized that I had nobody to talk to about those things. I did not have my tribe with that.
A friend of mine who always makes fun of me always says, “If you can’t find what you need, you seem to create it yourself.” My SOP for being a lady landlord is you figure it out and make somebody else’s journey that much easier by sharing your experience. That is what we are all about. Uplifting the next one to then say, “In your situation, go grab that ladder. You’re going to be changing those lights.”
Tell us about Lady Landlords and how you formed this movement. Tell us what it is that people could count on if they were part of your group.
It started at the very beginning of the pandemic. I’ll have to thank my husband for this too. In mid-March of 2020, unfortunately, my husband was one of the people that were out of work due to COVID. He comes home and was like, “I got bad news. The work shutdown.” My response was, “We have to go buy another property.” He was like, “No, I lost my job.” I was like, “No, we need another rental property.” He walked away from me, closed the bedroom door and that’s pretty much what I heard. I’m sitting there being like, “No, that’s the right decision. We need more cashflow coming in. I’m no longer allowed to be out in public here due to COVID so let’s go make some friends on the internet.”
I started a Facebook group called Lady Landlords. I thought it would be me and my mommy hanging out in there. Instead, all of a sudden, we had other women that were in similar situations that were finding me saying, “I want to talk about real estate. I don’t necessarily have somebody in my life. I have all these questions and I need help kind of running my business.” That is what started the group. We have over 1,000 women joining the group every month, which is fantastic.
That’s a join at a rate of $1,000 a month.
Those are the people I accept, not even the people I don’t accept. The whole purpose of the goal is to be able to have other women that have been there done that help you. It doesn’t matter if you are new and starting, there’s always a piece of information or some type of insight that you have that can help somebody else, even if you are a newbie. Everybody is in a different place and has some way that they can contribute and make another woman’s journey that much easier. That’s what we do. We pass along information to help each other all day long 24/7.
Tell my crew if they wanted to get in the line, how would they be able to become part of your organization and get this kind of support? We have so many people who get funding or they work with us and they’re like, “What do I do with this money?” I’m like, “I’m not a real estate investor but I love real estate investors.” How can they get to know you and come in contact with this awesome support group?Everybody is in a different place, and everybody has some way that they can contribute and make another woman's journey just that much easier. Click To Tweet
Those that identify as female can go to Facebook and type in Lady Landlords. You will find us nice and easily there. For everybody else, you can find me on Instagram at @BeckyNova24. It’s very simple.
Do you have any final words of wisdom for my crew? You’ve been wonderful. What would you tell somebody who wants time freedom? How do they reach, acquire, grab or take down like a gazelle in the Serengeti, their dream?
I hope this doesn’t get us in trouble for any type of copyright infringement here but I’m going to steal the Nike slogan and say, “Just do it.” Go for it. We’re our worst enemies. We get stuck in this analysis paralysis, such a term that’s always associated with real estate investing. Nothing’s ever going to be perfect. I told you about how horrible my first closing was but I got in the game. I made the decisions and took action.
That is what separates those that are going to be able to get to that financial freedom and time freedom versus those that are going to be sitting there for the next 30 years in their 9:00 to 5:00 job wishing that they’d taken action. It’s not going to be perfect. The 1st and 2nd times are not going to be perfect. Never is it going to be perfect. It’s better to get involved today than it is tomorrow.
Thank you so much for joining me and inspiring my crew with tales of woe that turned into amazing opportunities because that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I said, “Failing forward.” Part of our culture is that the more times you fail, the closer you get to the win. It’s just how do we mitigate big losses while we fail? How do we fail quickly, move fast through it and learn? Thank you so much for being here, for weighing in and teaching my crew, especially how to start from that old W-2 and move into where people are joining your crew and droves by the thousands.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
- Lady Landlords
- Start With Why
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- Lady Landlords – Facebook Group
- @BeckyNova24 – Instagram